Listen to this article here
For years, Stephen A. Smith has been critical of now-Dallas Mavs guard Kyrie Irving, and the ESPN commentator has finally admitted he has issues with the NBA champion on a ‘personal level.’
As Irving missed most of last season with the Brooklyn Nets due to New York City’s private sector vaccine mandate (he was unvaccinated), Smith was a consistently loud voice questioning his lack of availability, dedication to basketball, and moral character.
When discussing Irving’s decision not to get vaccinated against COVID-19, Smith claimed, “Irving is one of the most delusional athletes in American history.” Smith later said, “he’s trying to get away from something that I’m not going to allow him to get away with.”
In Nov. 2022, after Kyrie Irving apologized for posting a link to a film deemed Anti-semitic, Smith said of Irving, “he’s disintegrating before our very eyes.”
While Irving admits to making missteps and is not above resolve, he’s also aware of his public perception, which has been narratively constructed in large part by influential men like Smith with gigantic platforms to reach millions each day.
Addressing Ja Morant’s suspension, Irving recently questioned the criticism that comes with celebrity, saying, “we all make mistakes, we all do things we regret, but when you’re a celebrity and you’re famous, you’re under different rules?”
Stephen A. Smith has called Kyrie Irving ‘very disgusting’
While Irving was one part of an underperforming Nets big three, Smith often laid the blame at his feet whilst painting an unflattering picture of him with every opportunity presented.
Even though Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden all left the Brooklyn Nets under trade demands, Smith pointed out that only Irving’s move to Dallas was “a stain” to the NBA.
Currently Kyrie Irving is on the last year of his contract, and it is unknown which team he’ll be with at the beginning of the 2024 season.
When speaking on his NBA future, Smith recently said, “nobody’s going to give him a long-term extension because they don’t trust him.”
Stephen A. denied it was ‘personal’ only one month ago
On February 6, guest commentator Jay Williams called out Smith’s flagrant bias against Irving on live television, however, Smith defended himself against any suggestion he “would get personal with a player.”
Though it is true Irving has missed more than his share of games due to his beliefs, and has even been rumored to be a bad teammate, however, it is Smith’s credibility and professionalism that is now in question.
Now that viewers are aware his incendiary views of Irving are not only biased, but personal, one must wonder whom else Smith has had personal relationships with which has clouded his commentary and sullied their reputation.